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Pope Francis has tested negative for COVID-19, Italian media reported just days after the Vatican confirmed four positive cases.
Frances, 83, has remained mostly secluded in his Santa Marta residence since coming down with a cold last month.
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican, Thursday, March 26, 2020.
(Vatican News via AP)
An Italian clergyman, who has tested positive for COVID-19, had lived in the pope’s residence for years, Il Messaggero, a daily newspaper from Rome reported.
The individual – whose identity was not released – is “one of the pope’s closest collaborators, an official of the Secretariate of the State, who was found to have a slight temperature after going in for a routine check.”
The person is reportedly now in a hospital and Rome, and his office has been disinfected.
The Vatican has been under increasing pressure from its employees to let them work from home as its offices remain open two weeks after the Italian government ordered Italians to stay home and shut down all nonessential businesses in an urgent attempt to contain the coronavirus.
POPE LEAVES VATICAN, WALKS TO 2 ROME CHURCHES TO PRAY FOR CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS
Concern about exposure risk has been heightened because many Vatican employees live in priests’ residences or religious communities and eat together.
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On Tuesday, the Vatican repeated that its offices would remain open. It said individual department heads should arrange for “essential services” to be provided to the church with the minimal personnel on hand and “incentivizing as much as possible remote working.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.